New chancellor sheds light on financial situation

New interim chancellor Dr. Jim Borsig discusses Henderson's current financial situation.

Submitted

New interim chancellor Dr. Jim Borsig discusses Henderson’s current financial situation.

Interim chancellor Dr. Jim Borsig sent the following email on Sept. 24 to all Henderson staff in light of recent developments regarding HSU’s financial situation.
Dear Colleagues,
Today the Henderson State University Board of Trustees met and were briefed on fall enrollment and the FY 21 budget. This email provides you with the same information and some additional context for the university’s next steps. The information I shared today follows the path I described in my earlier emails to you and now provides detailed information on budget impacts of this fall’s lower enrollment.
Henderson’s circumstances this fall are due, in large part, to the impact of COVID-19 and have further complicated the financial challenges that existed prior to the pandemic. Other universities and colleges are equally affected by COVID-19, but our lack of financial reserves affected our ability to cushion this loss of revenue.
I told the Board of Trustees what I’ve shared with you throughout the fall semester–that we have work to do and need the extended timeline that a second federal stimulus offers. When I sent my campus email last Friday, I expected the second federal stimulus to be decided in the next few weeks. However, the death of Justice Ginsburg immediately changed the focus of decision-makers in Washington, D. C. I remain optimistic a second federal stimulus will be authorized. However it is likely to happen sometime after the November 3, 2020 election. At the same time we must consider the possibility it might not occur.
The drop in enrollment and resulting lower residence hall occupancy rate have resulted in a shortfall of approximately $2.3M in the university’s FY 21 operating budget. I have attached the spreadsheet provided to the Board of Trustees today revising the forecast for FY 21 revenues and expenses. Financial sustainability, immediate and long-term, is our first priority. While this will include spending adjustments it must also include identifying opportunities to grow our enrollment and further diversity the sources of our tuition revenue.
Even with the prospect of federal assistance, we must address underlying financial challenges facing the university. Financial sustainability, immediate and long-term, is our first priority. While this will include decisions that reduce spending it must also include identifying opportunities to grow our enrollment and further diversify the sources of our tuition revenue.
The university must explore every available option as a part of our planning process. I have asked Dr. Jim Hunt, interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dr. Brad Patterson, Vice President of Student Affairs and Success to co-chair this planning process. This planning committee will be charged with evaluating the available options, identifying a strategic path for the university, and bringing forward data-informed recommendations .
Over the next week I will consult with the leadership of the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate, and others across campus as I consider the appointment of the planning committee, as well as to establish preliminary deadlines and milestones for this work. I anticipate the first deadline will be the week before Thanksgiving before our classes switch to online.

You have my pledge that we will work together to quickly find our financial footing and move beyond these lingering issues, and do so with a clear understanding of the impact on the members of our university community.

Click here to view the fiscal projection for the 2020-21 school year. The Oracle staff will release new information as this story develops.